|Alfven waves||medical dictionary|
<physics, radiobiology> Transverse electromagnetic waves that are propagated along lines of magnetic force in a plasma. The waves have frequency significantly less than the ion cyclotron frequency, and are characterised by the fact that the field lines oscillate (wiggle) with the plasma. The propagation velocity depends on the particle density and the strength of the magnetic field. [Relatively] Low frequency ion oscillation in the presence of an equilibrium magnetic field. Also called the transverse hydromagnetic wave along B_0.
The torsional Alfven wave in cylindrical geometry was first measured in liquid mercury by B. Lehnert. Alfven waves were first generated and detected in plasma by Allen, Baker, Pyle, and Wilcox in Berkeley and by Jephcott in England in 1959.
(13 Nov 1997)
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